Advance gives Dow a gain for the year
NEW YORK » Wall Street extended its November rally with modest gains yesterday despite pressure from rising oil prices and a major restructuring plan at General Motors Corp.
A raft of acquisition news carried some stocks higher, but volume was light and was expected to remain so ahead of Thanksgiving. There was also a muted reaction to a Conference Board report that the top economic indicators rose 0.9 percent last month, reversing an 0.8 percent decline in September.
The Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes pushed past four-year highs reached Friday as an improving economic backdrop energized the market. But many traders were awaiting indications of how retailers will fare during this year's holiday rush, which starts Friday.
"You're going to hear a lot of banter about (retail sales) this week because consumers are such a large part of the economy," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst for Jefferies & Co. Hogan said investors may react to early sales reports, "but it doesn't mean a whole lot until we have the hard data."
Meanwhile, forecasters said a nearing snowstorm could hit several northeastern states by midweek, pushing crude oil higher on renewed supply concerns. A barrel of light crude added 49 cents to $57.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
At the close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.95, or 0.5 percent, to 10,820.28, the index's highest close since March 10. The advance also put the Dow into positive territory for the year.
Broader stock indicators were also higher and remained at four-year highs. The S&P 500 added 6.58, or 0.53 percent, to 1,254.85, and the Nasdaq gained 14.60, or 0.66 percent, to 2,241.67.
Bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note sliding to 4.47 percent from 4.5 percent late Friday.
GM raised by 5,000 to 30,000 the number of jobs it plans to cut in an effort to slash $7 billion of expenses by next year, $1 billion more than previously estimated. The ailing automaker is also shutting nine North American assembly plants and three service and parts facilities. GM sank 47 cents to $23.58.
Mergers and acquisitions again dominated the day's news. Mentor Corp. offered $2.2 billion in stock for Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., which refused the bid and said it is committed to its proposed takeover of Inamed Corp. Last week, Allergan Inc. outbid Medicis for Inamed with a $3.2 billion offer. Mentor dropped $4.79 to $51.35, Medicis surged $3.82 to $31.57, Allergan lost 65 cents to $99.60 and Inamed rose 2 cents to $83.33.